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Well, it is Friday, in this part of the world.

I thought that today was a good day to start with this blog that I have been procrastinated for a while. No excuses, because there is so much to say and share.

Like you, to be honest, I am feeling tired to read stories about HR, recruiting, hiring, firing, diversity and inclusion issues, equity, compensation gaps, and the list could go on and on. I have the impression that we could be more objective in the conversation and more productive to do something, change something, and improve and reduce the drama and stress around.

I am an HR professional, and I love what I do. I love the core mission of Human Relations. (I’m not too fond of the Human Resources term, so I hope you agree too in changing it).

One of my favorites phrases is “Work hard, have fun, and no drama.” I am sorry for not knowing the name of who wrote this phrase, because it is brilliant. I have it on my bookshelf as a reminder. My new version is “Work hard (smart), have fun, and no drama.”

Having this in mind, I want to share some thoughts about what we can do to align conversations and interests between Hiring Managers and Candidates regarding Talent Acquisition. (I will start with this critical area because, for me, it is the beginning of the process. I like to see our companies as our homes when we decide to open the door to invite someone when we have the tremendous opportunity to choose our guests wisely. Yes, our guests, of course, have the wise decision to make if they accept our invitation or not, so this is a two way road.

Here are my top suggestions:

1.- Think and talk about “skills.” In all the names that this term can have: Competencies, Capabilities, Qualifications, etc.

“Skills” to me is that powerful word that aligns everything, what a company looks for and the candidate has to offer, and of course, as recruiters, what we should look for.


Because it is through the skills that we perform. Plain and simple.

2.- Think honestly about what you can offer at this present moment in time. (No promises, no guesses). Your skills are so real that they are tangible. You can see them, almost can touch them. That means that you can perform. And if you are a hiring manager, are the skills that the candidate will use heavily in their work, so avoid the Santa Claus letters, wishes, or desirable things as usually are called. And the same, if you are a hiring manager, think honestly about what you can offer at this present moment in time for someone new ready to join your team. And then, recruiters will focus on your core list of requirements.


3.- Use this phrase honestly and congruently. “It is what it is,” at least by now. And I give you an example, how many times have you read or heard a candidate should negotiate their salary. Well, in theory, sounds good. However, again being super honest, you know how much you need to live the way you want. And also, if you are a hiring manager, you know how much is your budget assigned for your payroll.

So, in the world of HR that I know (yes, everyone talks from the world that they know) there are budgets for hiring purposes. So do not waste your energy, be realistic, and of course, you will be free of drama.

The phrase “It is what it is (at least by now) “applies pretty much to everything: culture, processes, policies, etc. When you understand and embrace what you have now, you can create transparent and realistic scenarios.

And that, in my experience, could be the key to long-lasting employee relations and super meaningful, happy relationships. You are building trust from the second that you meet a candidate. And as recruiters, this is one of the essential responsibilities to present opportunities as they are, honest and transparent.


4.- Invest in time reflecting. What do you want and what do you not want? This point seems obvious, but believe me, it is not. For example, you know that you are a manager, super busy and do not have time to train someone at this moment, at least by now, so then you want someone with more experience or with the skills of fast learning or specific competencies. If your role is a candidate, you should know what you want. For example, if you do not wish to struggle with learning the new company you are joining, then that is it. You are looking for a company with well-established procedures and resources available to perform with great onboarding.

In general, you need to create your criteria list. Some people call it boundaries. To me is going to be your decision dashboard.


  • Salary, what is my ideal salary?
  • Culture at the workplace, what type of environment my company offers?
  • What skills do I know people on my team need to succeed?

See, I hope you are following me. Each of these points is a two-way road; from the perspective of where you can solve it.


5.- Dedicate quality time to the process. 

Some stories to illustrate:

  • The busy hiring manager. They are so busy that they do not have space on their schedule for interviews, or they give you a room with limited time or schedule for a later date.
  • The busy candidate: They are so busy networking, helping others, volunteering, LinkedIn, that do not have time to attend an interview or have limited time to prepare, relax and enjoy the process.

This the best analogy that I can find is when we are in an airplane, and the flight attendants say, in case of emergency, please make sure you locate your mask first before help others. The hiring manager needs urgently to find the talent to fill the open position, and the candidate needs urgently to find a job. So, time, as we all know, is precious. Be wise in how you manage it.

6.- Focus on the now!

The past is like when you are driving. You sometimes look back to make sure that you are heading in the right direction. Your attention is at the front, the present. And yes, eventually the future, looking ahead.

The past does not necessarily predict the present and future.

Suppose you are a hiring manager obsessed with knowing what happened with the candidate who was in another company, with another boss, in another environment in a different moment of life.

Well, honestly, you are wasting your energy. To be realistic, just a few tiny percentages of candidates admit that they failed, so why ask with so much emphasis?

The indicator is there, it is what it is. They stayed there in a company for some time, who knows what happened? The company, the boss, and the candidates. But that is not relevant for you anymore. Still, we change constantly; the candidate in the past, with you as your new boss, company, and new environment, could behave and perform differently. So, be aware of your beliefs in terms of hiring. 

Put your attention fully on the present, ask intelligent questions that allow the candidates to demonstrate their talent, and not obsess with the past. Further in the future, you can go ahead, projecting questions to identify the potential growth of the candidate, but be aware that is the future potential because it still has room for improvement or the possibility of.

The same I say for you as a candidate, what happened to you in the past, how you performed, it is already the past, if it was good, fantastic! If you had terrible experiences, forgive yourself, forgive others, and move on.

The present is here and now!


7.- Be accountable!

  • Track how you are doing in the process.
  • Are you interviewing qualified candidates?
  • Are you receiving qualified offers or calls of interest?


Suppose the answer is yes, well, terrific! You are taking the right actions!

If the answer is no, then objectively make a list and review what you can do better. (We call it like this, but in reality, you should think, what are you doing awfully?


From the hiring manager:

  • Too many requirements
  • Too long of a process
  • Not so many tech tools involve.


From the candidate:

  • Lack of clarity, your resume looks good, but it isn’t evident.
  • Not dedicating enough time to your job search
  • Lack of strategy on your job search
  • You think that you can work everywhere


Track your activity!

Fun story, with two ways:

Hiring manager: Emails me saying, “I need a candidate urgently”.

Me: Did you see the candidates that I submit? We have two great candidates in our pipeline waiting for an interview.

Me: Hi >> Dear candidate (choose your favorite name). We are excited to receive your application, Thanks for applying; we look forward to having a conversation with you to understand more about your expectations and interests.

Candidate: Thanks. I am not sure if I remember the position; I have applied to so many. Could you forward me the job description?

Me: Breathing deeply (Lol)


So, in summary, you need to know what you do and how you are doing.

8.- Take action, redirect your efforts!

The most crucial outcome after you analyze and have findings is to adjust what is needed, let’s say, redirect and aim for improvements and progress.

Simple changes can bring us more significant rewards. Some examples:

  • Manage your time better. I already said it, but it is true, time is precious.
  • Choose your wins (some called battles, I hope you can delete that word, recruiting or finding a job, should be exciting!).
  • Be humble. It is not the same to think I can work with anyone that I perform better working with
  • Look for progress.
  • Breath!


So much to ponder here, I´ll leave it like that!


9.- Think of technology tools as your best friends!

You should feel excited knowing how many tools you can choose from to improve your recruiting process.

ATS – If you do the proper setup and focus on skills, for sure, you can filter great candidates easily and faster.

If you are a candidate, the same, the ATS will help you filter the best opportunities. Please do not worry so much about formats or wording, the essential part is the content, and skills and outcomes are kings.

Virtual Interviewing you can potentially do interviews anytime, anywhere, everywhere, and even in real-time or recorded.

Not a bad idea to use your time productively.

LMS – You can track what competencies your team has and continue developing.

On-Line Learning – If you are a candidate, you can continue improving your skills.

So regarding Technology are so many options here (this is content for another blog, do not forget to follow us, but take a look to our HR Digital Transformation services ).

10.- Choose wisely!

Hiring decision is so crucial. You are deciding to invite someone that you do not know for sure to join your company, team (another home) indefinitely, and hopefully for an amazingly productive, happy time.

Same way for you, as a candidate, you are deciding to accept joining a company – team as your other home. These types of decisions are in your hands.

Work and Career are big rocks in our lives and ample opportunity for potential fulfillment or disappointment.

Be objective, congruent, honest, committed to doing your best, and excited for a new bright present and future! In whatever role you are.

Successful work relations are created every day by managers and teams!

I am writing this with the sincerest wish that you: hiring manager and candidate, finding each other, and becoming highly productive and happy!


At IP Living, we are here, committed to helping leaders and candidates to find each other and create successful workplaces!

We invite you to check our careers site and Talent Management Services.

If you want support on your adventure towards finding talent and/or a new home, you know where to find us!

Ivonne Castro

Managing Partner HR Business Solutions

Talent Acquisition Lead, Talent Passionate, and Coach.